Covid 19 crisis: Web-Tools for oncologists

The Covid-19 crisis has brought “working-from-home” into a sharp focus. I’ll be happy to describe my workflows and web-tools that I use and recommend. Most of them are paid options as I value safety, privacy and security over anything that’s “free”. A free option invariably costs more.

  1. Security options- Yubikeys as a second-factor authentication is difficult for most users to grasp, but it provides a bullet-proof system for express logins. I have been using these keys for over six years now, and they are a lifesaver. I have seen the support grow for this service.
  2. Fastmail is the way to achieve the inbox nirvana. I use a combination of several rules to keep the email sorted out in the specific folders and get notified only for the VIP contacts. For example, if I am tracking an event, it rings the notification. Otherwise, the rules shunt them to a folder where I am going to see them later- for example, newsletters or repeated emails from specific companies that get shunted to trash. As such, I don’t have to deal with the deluge and manage the load easily. It gives me the options to create unlimited aliases as well.
  3. TopicBox is a solution from Fastmail that acts like a “Wiki”. It is useful for anyone who’s focused on email and helps to documented general information.
  4. 1Password is the solution for managing complex passwords and numerous 2-factor authentication systems.
  5. Vivaldi as the most feature-rich browser. There are numerous issues with extensions as the end up leaking a lot of data. Vivaldi minimises the need for the same.

I prefer Telegram for its scalability, safety and privacy- both for managing groups and channels.

I am still on the fence for a proper video-conferencing solution. I’d be happy to go with the recommendation from the IT teams for using either Skype/Microsoft Teams or Zoom and my experience with them has remained spotty. If it works, it works. I believe that Google Hangouts remains spotty and deprecated.

Surprisingly, I found using Signal app with excellent one-to-one video calling. The advantage is that it works with Android and iOS. Apple Facetime works only on the Apple devices that may limit its use. In case, the network or the user interface is degraded (as large teams are scrambling to get on to the video calling), Telegram offers “round videos” that can be recorded and shared in the groups.

Those are useful if you need to communicate small snippets. However, larger formats can also be utilised (up to 1.5GB) to be shared across the Telegram network.